News breakdown: Jan. 20 – 26

Rescue workers remove bodies from a hospital fire on Friday, Jan. 26, in Miryang, South Korea. (Courtesy CNN)

Rescue workers remove bodies from a hospital fire on Friday, Jan. 26, in Miryang, South Korea. (Courtesy CNN)

International

– A fire at Sejong Hospital in the South Korean city of Miryang, on Jan. 26, has killed 37, injured approximately 140 and has left 18 people in critical condition. The hospital did not have fire sprinklers or smoke control systems due to its small size which has the relatives of the victims angry at the government’s policy on fire safety.

– A group of Democratic and Republican Senators came together to pass a bipartisan spending bill, ending the U.S. federal government’s shutdown after three days. The bill funds the government until the Feb. 8 while a longer-term compromise can be meted out, funds the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years, suspends a number of ACA-related tax increases and provides for a vote on the Dreamer issue before the long-term spending bill is to pass.

– U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller last June, but this did not go through due to the White House counsel’s threat to resign instead of carrying out the directive. Mueller questioned attorney General Jeff Sessions last week for several hours, and President Trump has said that he looks forward to his questioning by Mueller which is speculated to take place in the coming weeks.

– At least 40 were killed in an attack on Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan, where six gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs, grenades and suicide vests attacked the hotel and held it for 15 hours until security forces took the hotel and killed them. In the aftermath, Kabul Balkh Safety & Security, the private security company contracted to provide the hotel with protection has come under scrutiny due to its collapse during the attack.

– Thirty-three people have died and 47 were wounded from a twin car bombing in a residential area of Benghazi, Libya. The attackers timed the second bomb to go off as residents and medics gathered to assist the wounded of the first blast. The attackers are suspected to be Islamist militants fighting against Libya’s Eastern government.

– A prehistoric jawbone found in Israel is prompting scientists to rethink the timeline of when humans left Africa and colonized the world. The jawbone is dated to 200,000 years ago which takes the timeline of humans leaving Africa back by over 100,000 years. This jawbone and a trove of human teeth found in a Chinese cave have clouded the previous scientific consensus which stated that humans only left Africa 60,000 years ago.

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Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown leaves Queen’s Park after a press conference in Toronto on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. (Courtesy Aaron Vincent Elkaim/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

National News

– Patrick Brown has resigned as the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives after allegations of sexual misconduct were uncovered and published by CTV News. Brown’s resignation came after senior staff demanded his resignation, were rebuffed by Brown, and resigned themselves. The Conservatives will hold a leadership race before the provincial election on June 7, 2018, with MPP Vic Fedeli acting as interim leader.

– Aurora Cannabis will acquire rival CanniMed Therapeutics for $1.1 billion after an acrimonious takeover bid months before. In 2017, equity offerings by Canadian marijuana companies have tripled to a new high of almost $1 billion; this is now supplemented by Canada’s biggest marijuana company raising $200.7 million in an equity offering.

– Kent Hehr, the federal minister of sport and persons with disabilities, has resigned from cabinet after sexual harassment allegations against him broke on social media. Hehr’s portfolio will be taken on by Science Minister Kristy Duncan. Law firm Rubin Thomlinson, who are investigating a senior member of Prime Minister Trudeau’s office, is set to investigate the allegations against Hehr.

– The U.S. International Trade Commission has voted unanimously in favour of Bombardier on the Jan. 26, which prevents the U.S. Commerce Department from instituting tariffs of 292 per cent on Bombardier’s CSeries plane. Foreign Minister Freeland released a statement supporting the ruling, Bombardier applauded the decision and Bombardier stock shot up 15 per cent.

– Toronto homicide detectives have confirmed the deaths of Canadian billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman as targeted murders. The president and CEO of Barry Sherman’s company Apotex, Jeremy Desai, recently resigned over a trade secrets lawsuit brought by rival company Teva.

Jamie Baillie stepped down as leader of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party after at least one allegation of sexual harassment. (Courtesy ANDREW VAUGHAN/The Canadian Press)

Jamie Baillie stepped down as leader of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party after at least one allegation of sexual harassment. (Courtesy ANDREW VAUGHAN/The Canadian Press)

Local News

– Jamie Baillie has resigned as Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative leader and MLA shortly after an investigation concluded as to his inappropriate behaviour, which allegedly includes sexual harassment. The Nova Scotia PC party opened up a third-party investigation in December over an allegation of inappropriate behaviour; this investigation found that Baillie had breached the House policy on the Prevention and Resolution and Harassment in the Workplace.

– The province of Nova Scotia will eliminate all Nova Scotian school boards and remove principals as well as vice-principals from the teachers union as integral parts of the government’s changes to the educational system. Education Minister Churchill said that this decision was made as the result of a report by consultancy firm Avis Glaze which contained 22 recommendations to reform the education system.

– The Guysborough County council has called on the province to lift its province-wide fracking ban following the release of a Onshore Petroleum Atlas showing that 6.5 trillion cubic feet of gas, worth $20 to $60 billon, lies beneath Nova Scotia. NSNDP minister Andrew Younger announced the fracking ban in 2014 following the release of a report produced by an independent team which involved 11 public consultations.

– Women’s marches took place across Nova Scotia on Jan. 20, on the one-year anniversary of U.S. President Trump’s inauguration. There were marches across the province, from Halifax to Sandy Cove, as well as one organized in Halifax to prioritize the voices of black, Indigenous and people of colour.

– The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs has withdrawn from a panel which was tasked with determining the fate of the Cornwallis statue and is calling on Halifax to immediately remove the statue and all other commemorations of Cornwallis. The Assembly made this decision unanimously on Thursday partially due to the lack of action on the panel, despite being formed in October 2017.